Saturday, December 29, 2018

It's a Wrap - My Texture Time Shawl

It's been some time since I've felt like visiting this space.  Over the past six months I lost my father to Lou Gehrig's disease and my dear mother is currently in skilled nursing with a fractured pelvis.To be honest I debated abandoning my blog during this period as it seemed so trivial in comparison to what my family was going through. But I realized going through this sad process how important memories and pictures are as you get older.  I think one day I'll look back at my blog and the pictures and stories will make me smile as I remember all the things that I've made during my life.  And hopefully my knitting tips and recipes will have made other people's lives a little more enjoyable along the way too.

I have been busy knitting away this entire time and have finished many beautiful pieces that may never get their moment to shine.  But I wanted to return with a truly special piece of knitting and so I chose my Texture Time shawl which is Stephen West's 2018 mystery knit along (MKAL).  This piece is a knock out and attention grabber, especially when you turn around and people see it from the sides and back.

I loved knitting this project.  Like all Stephen West's designs it is well written and full of creativity.  Some might even say it's flamboyant.  And I say why not go for it.  That is why we knit after all, isn't it?  We want something that is uniquely ours and expresses our creativity.  Otherwise it would be cheaper and easier to simply buy something that is mass produced.  Speaking of which I should point out that I did make a few modifications to this design (detailed below). Whether it is color, fit, or a design element almost every knitting pattern can be improved with simple modifications and you are missing a wonderful part of the knitting experience if you fail to do so.  Before you begin any project and as you progress on a project you should always be asking yourself if there isn't a better option for the color, fit, or design that would better suit you and your tastes.  Admittedly it's harder to do this as a new knitter but with time and experience that thought process should be part of how you think about every project that you knit.

As for the actual knitting of this design I think the one major challenge is the back panel which is "syncopated" brioche.  If you are new to brioche knitting this, in my opinion, is not the starter project for you.  But if you are game or simply need a refresher course on brioche I highly recommend Craftsy's online brioche class to get you started.  If you do knit this shawl I guarantee that you'll have a one of a kind piece of knitted art.

Particulars:  Texture Time MKAL (2018); designed by Stephen West; US 5 needles; Spun Right Round (classic sock and mohair (held double)).  My only modifications were (a) I did not follow his suggested order of colors for the back center panel (i.e. light to dark) and instead I went in the order of colors that created contrast best (b) I substituted and/or added a bright acid green yarn (from stash) for the wavy contrast portion to help make that design element really pop (c) I added a single strand of mohair to the sides on pattern rows to create a striping effect (d) I substituted my main color for the tips rather than using the green contrasting color as suggested; and (e) I did not knit the tips as long as suggested as I felt that adding too much length to the sides would overwhelm the shawl.  I am very happy with my final shawl and can't wait for next year's MKAL adventure!  Previous MKALs by Stephen West that I've participated in include The Doodler shawl and Marled Magic Shanklet (post also includes my Striped Esjan shawl which is Stephen West design, but not a MKAL project).  If you are looking for a basic brioche project I recommend the Parlour Shawl, which was my first brioche project.

In Loving  Memory of my father, Vernon Bugh, Jr. ~

As I mentioned above my father recently passed away.  I don't want to dwell on the sadness of the disease that took him from us.  Instead I want to remember all the happy times we had as a family.   I specially love this picture of him that I took a few years back because he particularly loved Christmas.  He always went to great lengths to decorate the outside of our house and property with beautiful bold strands of Christmas lights.  It was important to him that he select the perfect Christmas tree for my Mom to decorate inside and he would drill holes in the base and nurture the tree with solutions to keep it fresh through New Years.  He also had fun with the holiday.  He was always the first to suggest it was time for eggnog spiked with whisky or rum.  He collected and set up a whole holiday village display in the living room complete with houses and shops that lit up and cars and carolers strolling the streets.  When I was little he had a neighbor dress up as Santa Claus and come to our house.  Santa gave my sister and me a candy cane and told us to watch for his sleigh leaving from our back window.  I still remember wearing my pajamas and bright blue fuzzy slippers standing in the living room watching for his sleigh out the back window and being puzzled how I could have missed it.  And every Christmas morning he captured all the chaos and fun of opening presents using an old fashion movie camera.  He was sentimental that way.  I hope to come across these old films when my sister and I go through the house.  I won't be able to watch them right away but hope that someday I can watch them and smile.

After my dad passed many of our neighbors wrote or told me what a wonderful neighbor he was and how much they will miss him and miss seeing his house beautifully lit for the holidays.  It was a hard Christmas this year as it was my first year without him.  And Christmases and my life won't ever be the same.  But I do have all my memories of him and I know that we will be together again in heaven as he is now with his mother, brother Cecil and sister Shirley and all his dearly loved friends and family that departed before him. 

My dad lived a remarkable life and only snippets have been included on the blog.  But there are a few posts that talk about my Dad include a post that shares his fabulous BBQ chicken rub recipe; his favorite Christmas cookie recipe; (which also includes a bit of his life history including his award of the Bronze Star for bravery in combat); his stint as a lumberjack; and his firm belief in the health benefits of drinking a daily glass of orange juice!  He also made a few cameo appearances on the blog helping me showcase some of my knits along the way, proving he was a good sport to the end.

Vernon Bugh, Jr.  ~ May 22, 1929 - November 30, 2018 ~

Until next time be well, love well and I hope that 2019 will be a happy and healthy year for all.


Allie-oops Designs said...

Oh Claudia I am so sorry for your loss - I will keep your family in my prayers... and will pray for your mum's healing. It's so hard to lose your dad....

Margo said...

Claudia I am sorry for your loss. My deepest condolences to you and your family.

Renee said...

Sending you love and condolences on the passing of your father and get well wishes to your mom. I've had a very similar year and hoping for more joy in the memories and time with those we love.
Your knit is an absolute delight! I cast on a couple months before Christmas for gift knitting, the first i've knit in 2 years. I plan to cast on my Christmas 2019 gift knits starting on New Years Eve tomorrow.
Be well and sending hugs to you and Steve
xoxo Renee

knittingdragonflies said...

I'm so sorry! Prayers to you and your family! It seems like life gets harder the more we live. I'm glad you didn't abandon your blog. You have touched many hearts with it including mine.
Take care

Unknown said...

Hi Claudia,
Please accept my sympathy for your loss. Your Dad sounds like he made life special for many people. Thank you for returning to your blog. I enjoy your posts, and admire the lovely photography. As you live in California, I worried that the wildfires might have taken away your home or hurt you. Your postings open your life to many things, but the best thing is care. Sincerely, Rhonda.

Bridget said...

Claudia, I am so very sorry to hear of your father's passing, though I'm glad he is no longer suffering in any way. You are so lucky to have had him for so long, and have so many wonderful memories, that makes such a difference! My father died when I was 13 years old, and he also loved Christmas. I do not have as many memories with him, but trust me, as the years continue, those memories - particularly the holiday ones - will become all the more dear.

I hope your mom will recover and be well. You and your family will be in my prayers. Take care. xo

Mereknits said...

First I was stunned to see your beautiful shawl and then read further. So sorry for your loss. You are indeed lucky to have such an amazing man as a father. I know you miss him terrible. Wishing you a wonderful 2019! My thoughts are with you.

Jodie Editor Crafty Like Granny said...

Dear Claudia

My thoughts are with you and I send healing.

Thank you for being so honest about your loss and grief.

You are blessed to have had such a wonderful relationship with your Dad.

Treasured memories you will hold in your heart and mind.

Take good care.

Warm regards


P.S Feeling blessed that you did choose to return to sharing on your blog. Your featured shawl is as you say, a piece of knitted art. :)

Julie said...

Oh, Claudia, I'm so sorry for your loss! I know from my own experience how hard it is to lose a parent. I'm thinking of you and your family.

Cathy said...

Hi Claudia,
I check your blog from time to time and just saw your fathers tribute. You father was such an honorable man. I have many memories at Lynn and your home. I can still see your mom and dad drinking there “one” glass of wine talking before dinner. You always did have the prettiest Christmas trees . You were blessed to have many years with him well beyond our crazy teenage years when we don’t realize how great our parents truly were. Please let Lynn know that I am sorry .
Xoxo, Cathy (barcroft) Bartell

Anonymous said...

Dear Claudia, I notice that my Comment has not been posted although written several days ago. So in the event it did not get to you in this electronic world, here's a brief recap: So sorry to hear about your father. He always seemed to be a wonderful man. Sorry to hear about your mom also. Strong hopes for her recovery. Shocked I missed your return despite having checked almost every day for months. But this has been a hectic time for us and these things happen. Your Stephen West shawl is stunning and your comments encouraging us to improvise are very useful. So glad you are back. Chloe

Claudia Bugh said...

Thank you all for your thoughtful comments. Each day I think it gets a little easier although my mother's situation remains a concern. It's hard to process going through an illness like this. It some ways it seemed to go on forever and yet looking back it all went by so fast. I've had some people tell me that their parents blessed them by passing quickly. I understand why they might think that but I would never have missed the sweet moments that came from going through this. I do know that humor has been missing from my blog for a long time and I hope my heart is light enough again soon. In the meantime I appreciate those who still read and bear with me.